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tv   Peter Mattis Matthew Brazil Chinese Communist Espionage  CSPAN  March 24, 2020 12:50am-2:20am EDT

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especially rosemary gibson, this was enlightening a [inaudible conversations] >> thank you everyone for coming
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today. really delighted. it's a self-evidently important topic and this is a great reason to be discussing this to highlight, promote, discuss this great new book that has come out on tuesday, the third was the official launch date and this is about a topic which is relevant and important and it's understudied. i don't want to waste too much time here. i will only have an intro so i can highlight the work of a reprint for "the wall street journal" on the same topic and i'm going to quote from one of her stories from april of this here because iyear because it sp
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nicely where a piece co-authored chinese spies are recruiting the u.s. officers as part of a sustained campaign to shake loose the government secrets and current and u.s. officials say china has grown bolder and more successful in traditional spy games including targeting the less congressional and then she quotes the now infamous tape and by the fbi that no country poses a more severe threat in china and they are doing it through chinese intelligence services and state owned enterprises through ostensibly private companies and graduate students and researchers in a variety of factors working on behalf of china and finally this is one of my favorites from the peace. he says russia is the hurricane that comes in fast and hard. it's climate change long, slow,
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pervasive. i hope you suspect the people on the stage here have disagreements both on some of these statements between each other and about this issue of chinese espionage and what we think we know about the status activity and some of the myths. without further ado i'm going to turn over to the authors and we will turn to them for 20 to 25 minutes and they will walk us through the book. then we will take some time for q-and-a. i will plant the seed now the q-and-a period is primarily if not solely about actual question so as you are thinkin were thint
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the comments you want to make i would ask that you e-mail it to us instead of using precious time we want to hear everyone's question so be thinking about questions to ask when we get to the q-and-a period and with that i will turn over. >> thank you very much for hosting us today and also to the jamestown foundation for believing in the project and carrying it forward. a quick disclaimer since i'm in a government position, i'm speaking here in a personal capacity. i've taken leave to be here. my views are my own and do not represent the commission on china its staff or any of its members so if you are going to quote what i say i hope that
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developed knowledge it is in the capacity and doesn't represent any of the people whom i work for or an associated. i hate to downplay expectations for the book. it's not a gripping spy thrill thriller. it is meant to be a bit of a reference guide and primary introduction and we made a number of choices that i think were rather conservative and what they chose to include in the standards by which there is a need to demystify the chinese intelligence and not say there is a 5,000 year history or 3,000 dependinwere3,000 depending howo count it. the invoking has a sort of mystical body of operations. let's start with thing the thine see and know and build out from
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there. we try t tried to sketch out ine introductory essay what took place in the 1920s to sort of where we are today. the need to demystify there is no better place to start and the idea that it's been kicking around for a very long time the approach to intelligence or any host of metaphors for describing a. it got passed around by a little anecdote saying the grain of
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sand on the beach or the information products you want to gather. they would go back and be gone bygone. the united states with partner and pick up all sorts of signals and throw in some centers along the approaches to the beach and go from there. the chinese on the other hand would send a thousand and india and china would know more about it than anyone else. there is a slight problem with that analogy. most notably the national security information you don't get to send a thousand. you can't even get a thousand of arrogance onto the public beach in a very easy way because of the security clearance process. so, because it has a catchy
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story it sort of came around. the chinese intelligence are basically not using tradecraft. they didn't use traditional methods of handling sources or maintaining that relationship tp indicates agencies and the passage of information through the communication and other things. there are certainly distinct differences in style but that isn't really true and never has been. second with the amateurs that formed the corform the core of e intelligence did its masking the speaker a little bit to this, but in a lot of the cases if you go through the book and loo do t the hard espionage cases, you don't see amateurs leading the way. when the intelligence services are there the author point that
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i think is important about this is that it completed any chinese entity within the chinese intelligence, so when they said the chinese intelligence working in this way, chinese intelligence meant something very different than what it means when you say russian intelligence and the equivalent if you have core agencies and the community and any chinese person connected it does anything like looking at the technology or influence. for this u.s. intelligence and j.p. morgan and the hedge fund.
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it is set up differently but it's the wrong way to do it and that speaks to my we talked about the conservative approach might be included. the other downside of this it creates the notion of every chinese person of the potential spy. whatever you think of the proposition, that isn't a useful way to help you understand what parts of the system. and it's not really true. to say the chinese intelligence services have more success. that part you can see but to say that that has been slowly the focus i don't think that accurately captures the history. ..
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>> this is traditional where sometimes in the late 19 forties through 1985. that encompasses the pretty long trail of chinese intelligence. also i make the point that for years will use the chinese intelligence services because
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of the security situation in east asia and a whole variety of things with that potential impact that was a real threat and it wasn't necessarily operational sophistication but that is changing and i thank you could look at the period covering the book with our revolutionary period of intelligence the middle years of the prc not being that great and more recently the emerging sophistication that is on par. i attribute that to two things. the first in 1983 a bunch of survivors or rather a handful of survivors and a lot of
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police officers were told you work for intelligence services. and to give them a lot of skills so should we really be surprised that people for foreign intelligence have better luck they can communicate more directly with those cultural references? i don't think it's particularly surprising but beginning in the 19 nineties with fairly significant beneficiaries the pla started major publication profit one - - prospects to bring out the literature to say this is what we did and one of the biographies the author talks about a meeting in the early 19 nineties that you need to write this book because our people don't know their history and what they are a
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part of so that we understand they have a long and glorious tradition with the administrative state security professional. the forward to that book that says this book is for you to study and what are the lessons for you in the modern era? the other thing the administrative state security did essentially institutes a new training program to realize that if those that were in computer science you don't have that professional skill set and there seems to
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have been an effort in the 19 nineties or early 2000's to start recruiting people here are the things that you should do. so they spent their time in school and i can't entirely confirm of the internship programs so that if they were going to pass this off as professional business people that they would look and talk like a professional business person. but those that survive the meetings in their hotel rooms. for those of you that bumped
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into the younger generation's plan ten years ago were 20 years ago. so there has been a big change. and they saw movement into cyberspace i call this the dreadnought moment. and then to pick up signals to have industrial like infrastructure and with computing power and to go beyond what a human being
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could readily uncover. and then it was largely cut off from the existence. only in the late seventies or early eighties and then to go for late one - - fairly far behind but what this offered and then to invest and with that either system. met with contractors and the benefits of the private sector and this is why everyone was yelling about the pla and
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nobody has figured out and that attribution came much later and then most of the pla work. and this movement is important and then to capture communications and then it is a complicated process. but that you actually had to take a photograph in the conference room and know the quality of your picture to
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recognize the word greatness when you re-created that you can come back in you had it accurately captured. you had to have the skills to create the batteries. and then to have that plan to try to save your battery so they just weren't running and using up the energy while in the building and with this big shift the artisan ship and the craftsmanship from those devices with that skill set because the chinese didn't have those same experiences because when they do it domestically they control the environment with technical surveillance countermeasures so what it looks like today is in the software code not the delivery device.
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so yes you can come up with ways to hide it but it is a very different set of skills to teach where we are from this dreadnought moment if you will. it is important to understand the institutions that are involved. and then to reward particular behaviors and you may or may not be as centralized as you tend to think. want to read some of those cases in the book to be quite effective and quite useful and
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some boneheaded things why are we not taking this seriously? and why it's important to understand that it is the industry. with dozens and dozens of local state security bureaus. so should we really be surprised they are hiring graduates than the state security department? with that breath and variety and that organization that is diverse should look all over the map. and it brings up the important point to say there is some sophistication here. but if you did not understand
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that it may have been police officers first. and for those that were first rather than something else. >> they give very much also thank you to the foundation and those that sponsored us to complete this work. when it felt like we were hacking our way through the jungle but here we are. and with that path that led to today. so the years of the chinese communist party. in the years of the intelligence failures for the
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chinese communist party they had basically nothing in place. they had assassins and vap protection people's and spies but not a structure. but the coup d'état in april that year was a complete surprise and at the end of the year and with the canton uprising with the intelligence failure because we know virtually nothing about the enemy. so in this context founded as the first professional organization. it got off to a rocky start. but with the concrete useful spiraling which is referred to today as the three heroes of the dragonslayer, as mentioned earlier and one that survive
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more than a few years and went on to lead ccp intelligence in the early years of the people's republic. and that which followed with intelligence people and analysts people who do communications and technical work and that survives into the present. with those that were founded at that time and that saves a lot of lives and that was a disaster. and to this day one of my distant relatives was the black sheep you cannot find a
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picture of him. [laughter] and by 1935 by that time really of the operations of the clever individuals and in 1935 the special services section was abolished. this was about the time there was a concrete strong influence intelligence operational focus was enemies within. you probably heard of the future and incidents where he purged the red army everyone opposed to him and this was one of the first the first of the three left deviations.
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and with those deviations that are acknowledged today and with the salvation campaign and of course the cultural revolution and with that gigantic purge of people and actually there was a traitor because he did not report a meeting with an agent. that left a legacy of purges to solve problems and we see that today even though paying declared the age of political campaigns over with and then to serve as the paramount leader.
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and then to purge the enemies of pain and left those in tact. and ndd's different purges clean out the chinese communist intelligence with severe temporary effects. that areas during the revolution under control of chinese communist in the people's republic a toxic environment for enemy spies for those who want to spy. and this was a continual drive and nearly impossible to penetrate eastern china with the beginning of the prc regime the notable exception was the ambush 1961 in the
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army column and then 1600 pages of classified information. but then to bed. one - - to that so the strong toxicity for counterintelligence texas city and then to infiltrate and spy on toxicity for the prc to recruit foreign spies. and for those that are tourist baseline of surveillance that we discuss and baseline that
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everybody goes through and indeed there are clear triggers that lead to focusing on an individual with any indication they are suspicious a sensitive unit that has technology if you are tibetan. so it is easier to recruit foreigners and one - - in china under these conditions i want to do a footnote to point to the two fbi videos people have made fun of many of you have seen or call the game of ponds one - - ponds there is a dramatized version of the case of company men of the
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industrial espionage between the two but that in the game of pawns in the case we are looking at a professional operation but in company men the industrial espionage case estate owned enterprise following amateur program to get some industrial secrets. so with that i will say one more word about influence operations because that question always comes up so there is always a mixup by the way in history between the underground and the intelligence people. by 1938 / 39 intelligence was a core business of the party along with propaganda and
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military work and organizational work. so in the offices the ccc p-letter had national cities that were like little embassies and people from each of those departments including intelligence and the intelligence people then were often the ones who were called upon to pursue influence operations red star over china many of you may have read by edgar snow is an example of extremely successful influence operation and who was involved in that nobody less than who at that time not only trying to influence people to see the benefits of the communist revolution but also giving codebooks to local agents of one of her chief contacts was
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an agent of the special services section. so with that i will conclude a let's do some questions. >> i want to bring people into the conversation so just some follow-up questions based on what you are talking about that peter you mentioned bear bureaucratic politics and behaviors. looking at chinese intelligence there is a system operating under political system controlled by the party that gives the characteristics. talk about what is it like to be an intelligent service operating under the communist party of china? what is distinctive of its
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bureaucratic with intelligence services as a democratic system? >> i think there are two that i can speak to coming out of the research for this book. the first would be reading what is taking place in hong kong and the spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs they painted all the disturbances coming from the united states we often attribute this to paranoia but it is a logical outgrowth the chinese communist party's has a unique craft of historical trends that gives unique policy to craft policies that are adapted to the trends of
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the times and that if something goes wrong, it was of the theory or science or analysis, somebody must've done something. so that mentality creates the drive to ask paranoid questions. is not the difference of what is taking place but where the interference is happening. just searching for a piece of evidence that may or may not exist and then to pass that up the chain to say we had good serve - - sources and they say nothing like this is taking place but if that ideological system that's a very difficult thing to do. the second piece that is interesting if you look at the
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minister of state security i am of any of those that i try to build up there is nothing there from the analytic bureau and then to more closely resemble the enterprise than from the directors intelligence at the cia. and absent of analysis i was told by a former intelligence officer that the analysis was done at the ministerial level or the vice minister's office for someone who had been in the service for a long time had the personal protection at least the level of advice minister but that is where the analysis could be done and put through the system.
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so what happens at a more practical level that you can see a couple of these cases i discussed in the book there are pitches to people who are academics or other investigators and people ask why would this take place? because you can talk to people so if you write a report to say this is my assessment they can pass it up and say look we are just the amendment - - the messenger don't blame us for what he says or if the answer is wrong. >> i will follow up on that and read from page 21. the language chinese intelligence is revolutionary heritage the lexicon suggest it has been borne out in an
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interview with former officials to chinese counterparts intelligence services are bastions of faith this may be naïve is that an asset or liability having that level from the party and ideology? >> the downside are the two things that i talk about the upside is that you don't get a lot of defections. >> the question as i was reading the book over the weekend, the evolution of intelligence services through the mouth. but what i found interesting - - mao era but when you see peeing is times man of the year coca-cola but what was happening with intelligence
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services? was a becoming friendlier or was that a misnomer? >> none of these that he was is a martyred hero of logic was the person who made the speech abdicating the founder of state security and talk about all the enemy is coming in to china because of this reform. indeed if you step back a few years 1973 when there was a party that affirmed mouse first control everybody the bride in from congress and the reason that they seem to do that that others could look
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out and see if they wanted to keep it nice and secret so as more foreigners began to come into china this was a turning point that was followed in 1985 which was a big problem the first really big trader on the chinese side. >> and introduction to the book in 2012 where the united states found suddenly the assets went dark you said in the book that there had been compromised and upwards of 20 chinese agents working for the
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cia were executed. you were covering some of the cases that are now prosecuted here in the united states because this may or may not tie directly into that was the case of jerry lee sentence 19 years in prison a few weeks ago. can you talk about that case and why it's important that you can hazard a guess between jerry lee and this pretty disastrous intelligence failure of 2010. >> this is an important case former cia officer charged and pled lt to conspiring to provide classified information to the chinese government. the connection to the death of the sources is not totally clear but as said a few weeks
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ago prosecutors made the case that he had the names of a sources written in his notebook that he kept with him and had with him when he was at a hotel in the united states when his room was searched. they also made the case he had gotten around $800,000 in cash that he deposited into his bank account in hong kong over the course over 70 deposits at one - - he cannot explain who gave him the money or why he got it so prosecutors were alleging he was giving them information at least about the sources and other information to get that much money from them. his attorneys were denying that he did give them any informatio information. so the connection is a little unclear the attorneys were saying the government never gave them a harm assessment to their knowledge the sources he
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had listed were not actually harmed. we don't know if that is true or not. the government said they don't do harm assessment until after the case is closed. so the actual connection is pretty catastrophic the sources of the cia is unclear but some officials are definitely drawing a link between the two. >> and what you're seeing coming out of the us government do you have any thoughts on the 2010. but is this because we see an uptick of actions by the chinese we have cases of lowery and hansen that are now being prosecuted. or do we now just know more and paying more attention to the activities of chinese intelligence?
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>> there seems to be an uptick in the number of cases and there seems to be some concern it is driven in part by china's specific effort to get a lot of information about american government employees and combine that with credit card information. they know who to target all the people that they mentioned has financial problems and were specifically targeted with offers of cash. there has been a concern china has gotten better with the pressure points in the system and who might be vulnerable but i don't think they can draw a very clear distinction between the two. >> i would put it down to more
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russian more money and more sophistication and certainly it has been a fairly significant part of chinese intelligence practice if you choose to use the word doctrine to build up a massive database of people of potential interest this is the original most named used for that issue of political mobilization and influence and social affairs work in the thirties meant mapping chinese society for journalists and academics and other intellectuals who had a public platform. who are the important donors? who keeps things working? dealing with united states for many years, they were cut off, no access, how do you map
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a society that you are not that familiar with? you can pick out the elite you come in contact with but not knowing at the lower level how much more difficult. where before they worked on retirees as a key focal point because they are not going through another security background check or reporting finances or scrutiny so this was a way they could get that same understanding. but it is a slow process. in taiwan essentially they have seven years to do it. whereas dealing with united states, when you take compromises of opm and then the company that holds the second-largest insurance and the united breach putting
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together a much different data set that you can mount that on to employees in certain don't hold their personnel data so now map that against other things that are available and who they are and where they were and once you have that kind of mapping it's a lot easier. >> a question not only about china intelligence operations but the larger question of influence operations and the tension that we seem to have to have an open society but also protecting national security. i know you have been working on this as well but i want to get your thoughts on the
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current state of debate on how big the threat is. what actions are being taken and i would like to get everyone's thoughts on this how we accurately calibrated the risk or do we spend too far into overreaction phase? >> on the fbi side at least i feel about the programs and the efforts of us research universities are the biggest concerns he saw at a hearing a couple weeks ago basically say they had been slow to understand the threat and they wish they had recognize the scope sooner and often you don't see them to come out to acknowledge any missteps. so i think that speaks to how big of a threat they do think it is.
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but the past couple years they spent a lot of time going out us universities to talk about these issues. not quite calibrating the message directly but concerns about theft and then the universities they show us what you are talking about and what we do here is for the public given the nature of what they are looking at they don't want to give specifics or share classified information, there is talking past each other with the fbi tries to recalibrate to get other agencies to take the lead and to talk about it more as a conflict of interest and research integrity but it is one of the biggest concerns
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that fbi director ray has talked a lot about. >> just following up what solutions do you hear fbi us government giving to universities for this problem? just tighten up the ship or is that a practical solution? >> i think baseline to have a full accounting of the funding that the scientists are getting and to be very up front that what they could be getting from these programs because a lot of that was not disclosed previously so that's a baseline they are starting with and escalating from there. >> any thoughts on the idea of scientist and students and how we could balance protection with open? or is that even the right trade-off?
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>> the infrastructure set up on the chinese side to bring people back apparently is very extensive and includes helping people move their stuff back and recruitment efforts for scholars in the middle of research. of course besides professional operations there is a great deal of operations that is entrepreneurial in nature. when it is that way it looks a bit suspicious but the key element i hope is developed further when a government agency pays to research it is made clear and shouldn't be doing anything that runs against the contract.
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>> i will say from my perspective were a better place than ten years ago they way they want to talk to outsiders about this or say trust us it is in the classified rome i think fits well because there is a lot of information that is available from unclassified sources and that data is not being presented to explain in concrete terms what is taking place. that is a very significant shortcoming because there simply are not easy answers for how to handle these for example. the us government asks universities to take a look at who is coming the university says that is on you but then you realize thousands of these are flagged as potential
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problems something like 350,000 chinese students, sometimes they are measured in the 60 or 80000 range there is no way to follow that up people on full-time jobs a look at a handful of these and we do that because we have the presumption of acceptance but if we are in this place where people throw up their hands and say we won't even bother now presumption of denial now all of a sudden tens of thousands just go away. some fairly many not and that kind of system is relatively blunt so if you cannot find a medium in that conversation, i don't think we are quite there yet because if we were we could talk in a much more open
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way of the unclassified level of the nature of the tele programs and was taking place. >> the interagency process with the time limit to object. >> i'm not entirely sure. >> opening two questions. >> i want to see that it is true with this dichotomy with the russia between russia and china that qualitatively different feel. that russia is a hurricane coming in fast and hard and to be so pervasive you can ignore the russia part does that accurately describe? >> is that the static way looking forward we expect an evolution with this much more
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volatile fracture. that is a new permanence for a while. >> so asking the last couple years how to compare and contrast the intelligence front a little difference of tradecraft but all of the traditional motivations are exploited on - - exploited and if you do that you want results. and to put that money down you thank you are getting value.
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but on the influence side and with the intelligence services play a much more important role as the main executors of the policy. so on the chinese side the administrative state security of military intelligence department play a supporting role. and that the administrative states and education and with
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those capabilities and then pitching up ideas in the same way. >> the point i would make the only time the chinese several services of racket like the kgb was 42 through 44 other than that they were under much more strict party control. and then lake the mss has been involved. >> so let's all go into q&a. and now let's go right in the aisle.
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>> i want to come back to the late seventies, eighties. and the. where the united states and china were engaged in very specific intelligence cooperation. and to set up a missile tracking system. so my question is to what extent and then making secret trips to china. and then to manage the new mss. >> and then as far as human
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goes i am not aware of any and the two sides have always kept in touch but i don't think us has ever trained to the us - - china side like the russians did in the early days of the prc. >>. >>. >> and and with human and technical means does that mean
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parity? >> i were defined as being able to handle insensitive government departments and with that serious scrutiny to do that in a hostile environment. the second and with the geographic place. but that there is a global scope. maybe not everywhere all the time and that human and technical think of the way you get to the network.
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and then to carry that device across to either deliver a program to bring things out and continue that activity where the chinese intelligence. >> i'm david crandall retired from department of energy and national nuclear administration i worked with nuclear weapons and working with chinese people with a nuclear weapon side.
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that the security clearance information but it is clear i am interested in how do they use it are they as compartmentalized as we are? >> the answer would be like we are. in part because we don't have a clear grasp of how things are across the entire system. look at us that has been prepared and that has been accumulated across government not just the intelligence services. if you look at the classics of the chinese associating
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behavior about how the chinese side seems to be prepared and that they focus on trying to identify those details. some information like that is shared across the system but we don't know what that classification is depending on the information that they have and if they are talking about information about your clearance and what they stole is that necessarily shared with everyone you come in contact with where if a colleague is instructed. there are things in the system where if you take a mature policy system it is likely that information is shared quite closely because of all
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the party departments the state security. the political warfare people and the pla can be using the same platforms so the fact they may be sitting in some of the same spatial spaces to be shared more readily seven that policy system where agents that would be anyone's guess. >> the other thing the chinese side has a history of denying everything. [laughter] that one of your interlocutors said don't hit.
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>> so as a director and australia right now. >> and then what has been put out in public the first is there are a number of intelligence office never claimed to be the intelligence officer for the co-opt and and
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by the intelligence to be integrated and that is a key part of the claim. and with the types of people and would be close to the system. and through those professional linkages. and basically what is taking place and opening envelopes and what they are personally involved in that is an important piece to understand
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and the questions drafting of raising intelligence so that this was an impossibility that mr. long was connected in any way so it becomes very clear the entire these intelligence operations are not alone a single line of the chain of what is there. and with those cases we have a lot of other examples and then to be a business person who provided the services or resources so you cannot say
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the chinese intelligence operations that is only handled by the service in a very narrow and specific way because the story does compare favorably. and the questions whether or not with the taiwanese and to have a very close read we don't know the claims of australia. but the truth was ruled out as a defense for the australian paper. why would you put the specifics in their?
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and what that connection is. and the final point and with the intelligence operation or services and then to go back in. >> and then we will talk about taking care of you. but how operations are only able to capture certain moment of time. so as a part of the system why would you want to? if you want to get out that some of the things to think about because you don't have access to everything we don't
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necessarily have full visibility and there are a lot of people both inside and outside government and then to be late august we can see. >> we know the unique part as with nontraditional actors. i have a question. doesn't have to do with the chinese government and with
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the serving the country is serving the party and with the chinese students to this country so what do you say to this?
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